Every time I read a Tony Hillerman novel I wonder why it took me so long to get around to reading another on. These books are pure entertainment and brilliant writing. The strength of Hillerman is his characters and his obvious love of New Mexico and the native cultures that dwell there.
This book deals with Hopi religious practices and money and environmentalists and the kind of personal justice that makes Tony Hillman so great.
I love the feel of this early book, with Chee uncomfortable in his roll as Leaphorn’s junior and Leaphorn unsure of trusting a new associate. It’s quite a contrast to the later books where they are both veterans of reservation detective work.
In this case there have been a couple of murders, and a counterfeit Lincoln cane. There is also a drive-by fatality with a twist and a cast of characters that are made to inspire empathy and instant recognition. Hillerman also sneaks in a little bit of lessons about Navajo and Hopi cultures.
I would recommend this book to anybody, just like I would recommend any of Tony Hillerman’s books. This early one hasn’t picked up the writing quirks of the later books that make me twitch and the mystery will keep you guessing.